Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

Hope, How I’ve Missed You!

To hope is to be truly alive!

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three…” -(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Hope is essential. So essential, it made it to a very short list, which includes love of all things!

When I started Hope’s Diaries, I never imagined how great a thing hope was. I thought I knew its worth, but I’ve learnt over the past almost 4 years that I didn’t.

In some of my posts, I have written about my optimistic outlook on life. I’ve always been an optimist. I had no idea I could ever struggle with that part of myself. I thought it was this unshakable, unchangeable thing.

For these years past, I have learned patience and endurance, contentment and trust. Trust in God means that I don’t have to bug Him every 5 seconds about something I’ve thought or planned or wanted. It was first God’s offer and then it became my choice to learn patience, trust and contentment. It was very difficult- has been difficult.

However, somewhere along the line, having faced disappointments in walking down my path of good intentions, I lost a lot of hope. I say a lot of hope as if hope can be quantified, because my eternal hope in God was secure, and my hope in some of His promises was intact. I lost a lot of hope, and dreamed less. Why? I was afraid.

“I was afraid”, the very first words of Adam after he sinned against God.

“I was afraid, and so I hid”. I hid from life, from hope, from dreaming.

The Bible says that perfect love casts out all fear. Fear also works against hope. And hope against fear. To hope is to overcome fear. Hope.

Hope is essential for faith which is essential to please God, which is essential for life. I haven’t been taught much about hope; in some circles, hope is for the weak; for those who aren’t making their own destinies.

There’s such a thing as sure hope. Like the Hope the Bible talks about for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That’s a sure hope. And it’s within your reach. We can have hope assured because of God’s love and God’s promises which are so many. We can hope because we are loved by Someone so large, so…Love. We can hope so we can believe, and then we would truly live.

To hope is to truly be alive!

Can I hope again? Or dream again? Can I look forward even as I look up? Yes. I can. I will hope. I will have lot’s and lot’s of hope!

Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

Chasing Joy

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This world can be a difficult place some times; and during certain seasons of our lives, maybe more often than not. I’ve found myself moving down some good old paths as well as starting new things. I love new beginnings. But I realize new beginnings can be difficult too. New beginnings are even more difficult when you’re navigating them alone.

It’s not that I want to exclude people. In fact, I think, now more than ever, I’ve become more inclusive. But at the same time, I’ve learnt to be completely cool with being by myself. We won’t always have the pleasure of other people’s company especially the pleasure of the company of like minds. And some times, we wish, only wish, someone else would physically come alongside us on our journey. At least I feel that way.

Sometimes, I think, in the middle of all this, we have to chase joy. Joy can be elusive. We have to actively look for joy in the Lord, because the joy of the Lord is where our strength lies.It’s not an easy thing to do. Some days we just want to drown in the pool of our self pity. It’s much easier – less tasking.

Joy requires a little bit more energy than self pity, but its reward  is so worth it. There are some dark days, when the only thoughts that come are thoughts of failure, loneliness, confusion, worthlessness, but joy is always so near if we would only reach out just a little bit.

It usually takes one painful step to get to joy. It takes looking away from all the ugly, closing your ears to the heartless voices and looking up. Just one act and then another. It begins with lifting up your head, your eyes shifting their gaze. Then you utter one word and then another. God… Lord… Father.

Father, help me. Help me. I trust You. I choose You. Help me, I have no strength of my own. Your joy is my strength. Thank You for joy. Thank You for making my life so beautiful. Thank You for never leaving me or abandoning me. I’m so glad You think of me. And You love me, and You’re with me. I cannot be brought down because You lift me up. I can never be ashamed because it is Your face that shines on me! Hallelujah! God is with me now!

So one first move, and then another. Look to Jehovah and give thanks. Thanksgiving is a wonderful expression of our faith in an amazing, unchangeable God (who is Love, by the way). So chase joy; don’t let it slip away. Chase joy in God; He is never far away from His family.

And finally, you can be a part of God’s family by calling on the Name of His Son, the Lord Jesus, who has already paid the price for your sins. Is sin a dirty word? Yes, but perfect to ascribe to us. No one, not one is righteous. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. Call on the Lord and discover the joy of the Lord as your strength! Choose God; choose joy.

You can comment or email me directly if you have any questions about this call to God’s family. You can comment or email anyway!  😀 I pray that you will know God’s joy, love and mercy in Jesus Name. And so it will be.

Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

To Own My Definition 

Wow. I don’t know where to begin with this. I feel like I have so much to say and yet so little. 

I’ve been asking myself and God some tough questions that have been bugging me; all surrounding the same issue. 
Why am I so restless and anxious every day? Is there a life that normal people have, different from mine? And can I have it? 

I think I’ve been looking for this life for a long time, wondering if it even exists. For years I’ve been trying to make the grand discovery of what I will be, and what I will be doing with my life. I thought wrongly that those labels would determine who I am. Doctor, Artist, Engineer. Those are nice labels but they aren’t “who” we are. They could be a part of who we are but we are defined by so much more.

I wish someone explained this to me a decade ago. But it’s okay because I get to look forward to a different chapter of my life, free from anxiety.

I know who I am, and I know some of what I can do, but the important thing is that I know who I am. And I can own who I am.

God has done in me what He does best; He has transformed me. This is beyond receiving quick answers to prayers.  It’s more like seeing the answer to your prayer unfold.

I feel like a rock. Solid. I’m no longer seeking my definition in labels. I am defined by who God has made me and is making me. I am a rock. And God is my Rock. I love it.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

God Knows Me.

God knows me.

He knows my likes and dislikes and He knows what makes me tick.

He’s led me through beautiful scenes just to bring me pleasure – to make me smile at the sunrise early in the morning. He knows me like that.

Some days I don’t feel worthy at all. On those days I see myself through what I think are other people’s perspectives; I see myself through the eyes of condemnation. On those days I feel that I look like the version of myself God saved me from. The more I look into people’s eyes to reveal what I look like, the less satisfied I am. And then I find myself becoming more like that terribly inaccurate reflection of me.

I am not my old self; I am my new self. God knows me.

He knows when I struggle under the weight of my own expectations. He also knows when I’m triumphant, and when I act like He does.

Early today, I prayed to my Father and asked for His help. I was struggling with my negative thoughts about myself and others. In that moment I really asked for His help and believed He would help me. He helped me. He really did. And He helped me while He showed me beautiful sights. I saw plains and felt the cool breeze on me, while the sun was rising. I like things like that, and He knows. God knows me like that.

I am under my Father’s wings. Kept and groomed. And much loved.

Sometimes I fear that I am far from Him. He is always near to me. Never departing. I actually, not figuratively, have the Holy Spirit living in me. Don’t ask me how. He’s living in me, He’s all around me and near me. With me.

I know God – at least I’m getting to know Him. And He knows me. What’s better than that? What’s better than His love? Like David said, God’s love is better than life! Cool huh?😊

I’m at peace now. And I can rest in this truth: I’m known and loved by God. God knows me.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

The Twenty-Third Psalm

The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.

Go on…

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Wow. If I’m sheep lying down in the only food I want to eat, and surrounded by it, then that’s where I want to be.

He leads me beside quiet waters.

Again, really feeling this whole sheep with Shepherd thing.

He refreshes my soul.

Sounds like heaven: A soul refreshed. It’s like being in bliss. Like someone diving into cold streams after walking days in the desert. That’s what this reminds me of. And instead of dryness, dust and sand, there’s peace and quiet music, nature welcoming, coolness and a refreshing of the soul. ‘So good it gets all the way to your soul’ kind of experience.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

He does the guiding. I never have to worry that I missed a turn – if I’m the sheep in this story. There are so many possible wrong turns and paths leading to nowhere or much worse than nowhere. But that’s not my problem. I get to go on the right paths. For his name’s sake? Does this mean if He can’t get me on the right path, then “he” has failed? But does the Shepherd ever fail? This is all theory; if I was guiding and I couldn’t guide you right, then it’s on me. But He’s God, and He never fails. I can fail if I’m doing the leading. I don’t want that responsibility – not when God’s offering to guide me!

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Valleys are usually dark. So dark, I can’t see. Fear feeds on my fears. What wolf-like creature could be lurking in the dark? No. I don’t fear because my Shepherd is with me. He must be Super Shepherd. Is there an “SS” embroidered on his cape?

Your rod and staff, they comfort me.

Every now and then when I’m walking through the valley, I feel your touch. Your staff gently redirecting me. No, not there. Left. Go left.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Now the Psalmist is talking about himself as a human. No longer his sheep form.😊 David, a man after God’s heart, anointed to be king! People after his life and his rightful throne. How audacious that he would be dining and drinking to his fill in the presence of those who seek his end! Because God Himself decides.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.

Surely! All the days of my life?! I’m going to try to let that sink in.

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Forever and ever. And ever. The hope after now. After this broken world. We get to be with Him. Lord, friend, lover of our souls. Everything.

This psalm is cool. I could be the sheep. Sign me up. What are the qualifications for the role? Dumb? Helpless? Dependent? Trusting? Seems pretty simple to me. Except those are not words I’d use to describe myself. Maybe God wants me to be that with Him.

If I acknowledge that I really don’t know what’s best and He does; that I can’t do anything without Him; that I completely trust His judgement, then maybe I’ll fit the role of sheep.

When Christ judges at the end of the world, He says He’ll separate mankind into two groups: The sheep and the goats.

Sheep may not sound so desirable but how about goat?! Sheep sounds pretty good to me. How about you? Sheep or goat?😃 Which do you want to be?

Peace!

P.S. The Psalm is Psalm 23:1-6 (the whole chapter), NIV version.

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

What if I Did it Anyway?

What if I did it anyway? What if I picked up my device and typed away? Would it be so bad if it wasn’t perfect? What if I say the wrong things?

I could go on and on about my multiple list of excuses for not blogging often. Well…you know what? I’ll give one more excuse and stop: What if people don’t read my posts? There that’s the last excuse I’ll make. So I’m done making it.

I really want my life to be relevant. I’m not much of a talker; in fact, I believe if I talk too much, I’ll probably say irrelevant or unhelpful things – maybe even hurtful. I think of blogging as talking. So you can see why I do it as scarcely as I do.
I’m thinking, maybe just maybe I need to “talk” a little more. There are probably people who are thinking some of the things I’m thinking or working out in my head. People who need to hear someone else say it or someone who’s perhaps worked it out in their lives. And maybe that someone could be me. You see how I’ve used the word “maybe” many times in this post? My insecurities are screaming.

I guess the real reason I don’t blog often is my insecurities. The fear that I don’t have much to say, and the fear that nobody would be listening. That’s going to change.

Honestly, nothing feels particularly special to me about the middle of the month of March. I guess that’s the perfect opportunity to change. Because I’m forced to change even when I don’t feel like it. Even when there’s nothing propelling me like a brand new beginning of a brand new month or year.

So I’m writing today about insecurity and I’m writing about writing. They go hand in hand – many writers can relate (I believe 😊).

Here’s my decision: I’m going to write more often on faith. About faith, yes, but on faith. In faith? I’m going to write even when I doubt myself. I’m going to encourage you and encourage me. It’s the ‘write’ thing to do. 😉

Hey! Any souls out there? Come on over and join me here as I make this journey into God’s heart. It’s a beautiful, simple and hard road. It will test us, and it will make us. It will make us beautiful.

See you soon 😊. Soon because I’ll be writing.
Cheer up!

Dreams and the Future · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

An Invitation to Fear

I wrote that heading to get your attention; I would much prefer to title this post, “An Invitation to Trust.”


Anyway…

We are constantly being spoken at, being pushed and pulled from all sides. Life with it’s devilish gifts makes us offers of multiple dimensions, hard to ignore. Loudest above all the noise of the throng is the invitation to fear, often written in the elaborate ink of fact, and possible fact.

Fears of many sizes: big fears, small fears, medium sized fears. 

Are they valid? Absolutely. Are they fact. Yes indeed. People die for no good reason. Lives are wasted everyday. I’m forced to believe in the futility of life. But…

But what is my hope? What did God say about me, and what does He still say?

“All the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 1:20

“And I will be with you always to the close of age.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:20)

I’m constantly tempted to fear. And who am I in the face of the tsunami of life, hitting again and again everything that I am and have, and everything I care about?

I am the Beloved of God, surrounded by the surest promises. Kept by the Lord. Shielded by His Spirit. Given every resource of heaven to make me victorious. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” -Psalm 27:1

“[I] will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at [my] side, ten thousand at [my] right hand, but it will not come near [me].”‭‭ -Psalm‬ ‭91:5-7‬ ‭

And then I hear the voice of God sending out to me an invitation to trust. To believe in Him who made all things and in whom all things consist. The One that says “I am the Lord, is there anything too hard for me?” The God that calls me His own. The One who sent to die in my place, His only begotten Son. The One who loves me and gave Himself for me. 


He has made promises. We are not alone. Fear not. Fear NOT; words He says to us in His word so many times. And He still says now.

Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”- (Mark 11:22) Put your confidence in Him. Steadfastly trust in Him. Hold on to Him. Let go to Him. Ask Him and don’t give up asking. Seek Him. Hold on to His promises. Hold on to His word. Don’t let go.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

They Believed the Lie.

book_heart-wallpaper-1366x768.jpg“They believed the lie”. This phrase lifted out of the 2Thessalonians 2:11 verse is a foreshadowing of danger, and as well a present reminder of the fact that we could fall prey to lies. I am not merely speaking of lies that people tell, but a deception by the real enemy of mankind, which is the devil.
For many, the idea of the devil in a personified figure is laughable but for others, it is true.
In 2Corinthians 2:10 and 11, Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians to forgive a certain fellow believer and also to do so in order that “Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
Paul says this knowing full well that if the church didn’t forgive this brother, it would create an opening for hurt and all kinds of dissension and distractions. The latter part of the statement gives us insight to the mind of God for His children. He doesn’t want us ignorant of the enemy’s schemes. He wants us to be aware that we could fall into mind traps by the things we choose or choose not to believe.
Sometimes we find ourselves going down certain paths, knowing there’s something wrong but not being able to get off the path. I know this all too well. I’ve found myself believing all kinds of lies. Lies like “this is all there is to life”; lies like “you have or had no other choice”, “God doesn’t care about that part of your life”, “being pure is impossible” and so many more. There are a billion and one lies for the picking.
The thing is, we may not always immediately recognize these lies and that’s why we need a standard. For some people this may sound cliche, but the word of God ought to be our standard – our weapon against the lies of the enemy. This is what Paul calls “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” in Ephesians 6:17.
All I’m saying is, whenever you find yourself being overwhelmed by a thought or even your feelings, remember Jesus our Lord, being tempted in the wilderness by the devil. He came to Jesus with all kinds of lies wrapped up with just a tiny bit of seeming truth and attempted to overwhelm the Christ, but we know what happened in the end. Jesus said to him, “it is written…”. It is written, “the word of the Lord is a lamp to my feet”(Psalm 119:105).
What I know for sure is that God intended us to live a full life…a life of love…a life of honor. Whatever is acting as a barrier to that, we can put under the microscope of the word and see clearly. And live free!
Sometimes, all you need to do is see the truth clearly.
I dare myself to believe the word of God above my thoughts and my feelings. I dare myself to actual know the word of God about any and every one of my circumstances. And I dare you. I dare you to believe the truth.

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Spiritual

The God of All Comfort

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” -(2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
These verses of scripture are the reason I blog at Hope’s Diaries. I was reading the book of Second Corinthians in the New Testament and saw this verse in a new light. I realized that it captured my intentions – my hope for this blog.
The thing is, I often read other blogs from many amazing people. I must confess that I feel insecure sometimes about my blog because I find that they are so direct about their experiences in ways I wonder if I have failed to be.
I don’t have the “say it as it is” flair that I have seen in a few others, but my heart is all for the seeking reader out there. My heart is for you.
I’m constantly learning, and I hope, also improving. And I want to be able to give my very best to those who need it, so that somehow, my love would intersect with your need and create a kind of magic.
I myself have received and do receive comfort from God. I’ve seen darkness and known love. I’ve known hopelessness and heard the Voice of hope calling out to me with an indescribable love and devotion.
I can say that I love God, but I can say more certainly that He loves me. That He loves you.
Whatever doubts or questions or troubles, God is the answer. But my hope and prayer is that you’ll know Him. The real God and not the stuff of men’s imaginations. That you’ll know love and peace. May the God of ALL comfort give you comfort.
So please let’s go this journey together. We don’t have to be alone. If you need more honesty or more anything or less anything, let me know. Shoot me an email! Leave a comment! I’ll value it. I’ll appreciate it. And I hope I’ll also act on it for your benefit and mine.😊
And finally, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for following Hope’s Diaries. You are loved!cropped-image12.jpgIMG_3545

Bible Studies · Faith · Inspiration · Life Hacks · Spiritual

The Waiting And Following Faith

IMG_3811Our lives are constantly revolving around things-the elements. Sometimes we find ourselves clawing and scratching, desperate to get whatever it is we think we want the most. We never really get it as one day leads into the next. We get things however, and we aren’t satisfied.
For us it is an outrageous proposition that we choose peace. We want peace but we do not choose it. We want everything.
Is my dream life a possibility? Could I really dare to choose less? Less when everyone says more? For me it is no longer an option as I have only one master, Jesus the Christ.
Wanting many things and everything is natural, but there’s a deep desire at the very core of my being, and that desire is the Person of God. I want to know Him and I want to be with Him and then truly be like Him.
He calls us every day to the extraordinary in the ordinary. He dares us to see with the eyes of our spirit and to really want what’s beneath the surface. This requires trust and faith; a daily surrender of ourselves to our known God in the face of the unknown.
I want many things but I have a Great Father and Shepherd of my soul who knows what I need. I must pause when He says pause and move when He says move. I must because He knows – He really knows. He is the author and finisher of our faith.
It takes a whole lot of faith to slow down in our fast paced world. It takes a lot  of energy to swim against the current. But without faith it is impossible to please God. So faith it is!
God opens doors we do not always anticipate and we have this urge in our spirits to walk through. Then we should even when we don’t know what’s on the other side. Some other times God keeps doors shut and we feel like we are waiting forever. We aren’t.
In these times, there is a way to wait. There are ways we can be faithful to God when we feel like not much is happening. Whatever it is we find to do, we should do with all our hearts no matter how small. This is the time to notice our neighbor and to know our neighbor so that we can love our neighbor.  This is when we can pray. This is when we can show kindness and ultimately have the opportunity to share the good news of our salvation. This is when we should cling to God’s word and know it. When we know it, we’ll know God and we’ll know ourselves in Him.
So don’t waste the wait. Don’t rush the time. Don’t panic or fret. Don’t look around but look up! Let us choose each day to follow. Let us choose because that’s what it means to be followers – our choice and the daily giving of ourselves to God.
Surrender. Wait. Trust. Wait. Trust. Surrender. And amen!